Libyans in the diaspora
Forcedness, restriction and monolithic society are often the main factors that have led many Libyan women to migrate. The nature of Libyan society, which does not allow intellectual or artistic independence, is an obstacle to their stability in their home country.
Hanaa Abouzid a 35 years old female who lives in the center of the Ecuadorian capital of Quito as an independent Libyan woman, with her job, mind, life and personal choices. She has just started her life as a migrant since March 2015 when she decided to emigrate from Libya to the Pacific Ocean. Where we will list them accordingly.
Here, in the midst of an Ecuadorian family filled with warmth and friendliness and within that simple Ecuadorian house, Hanna rents her own space, which is packed with many of her personal possessions and textbooks for English and Spanish as additional languages to her native Arabic. And after many experiences, Hana shares with me with a voice full with trust and pride her story when she early began in the pursuit of her dreams where she was not afraid of experience, knowledge or her pre-knowledge curiosity.
I consider myself as a person with global background
She began by introducing herself to me. Hana was born in Benin, West Africa and lived in various countries including Turkey, England, and Ecuador. She participated in many cultural carnivals that played a role in making her intellectuality and personality, as soon as her dream of migration sparkled she started contacting people who experienced traveling to Ecuador, they encouraged to try this experience regarding how difficult the challenges are, and after more than 15 years between professional experiences in studying and teaching English in Libya, and working in the cultural section of the US Embassy in 2009, plus Microsoft in Libya and KAMCO Petroleum company, Hana tried to start from scratch and search for a job to ensure her living expenses in Ecuador, but the first and last obstacle was the language, since Ecuador as a state depends on the Spanish language in all administrative transactions, even a small shop in the suburb or in a simple restaurant uses Spanish and this explains how difficult it is to deal with customers or sellers anywhere without your knowledge of the language.
Hanaa: I love learning languages, and the Spanish language attracts me significantly, once that desire of learning it appeared I decided to learn it in a Spanish Speaking country so I choose Ecuador for the simplicity of travel procedures for Libyan citizens.
Although Libya and Ecuador are geographically, religiously and ethnically distinct from each other, they share the characteristic of socially cohesive people living in certain societal traditions and norms. "The Ecuadorians do not live in a way that is very open to outsiders," she says. "They often prefer to deal more with people who are similar to their local characters and features, but in contrary I do not find them either impolite or unfriendly.
Hanaa is keen to show respect and affection to the Ecuadorians and tries to be Ecuadorian, rather than a guest. They share their meetings at the end of every week plus all social and national occasion. She also adds that social participation with people who are different from you is a great addition to your intellectual and cultural background.
After all these major challenges in integrating with her career especially after being a financially independent woman of her family, she is spending on her own without any other sources of funding which makes the responsibility double the impact on her, Hana recently participated in a short silent film called BAN BAN, which embodies the ambition of a Middle Eastern girl to emigrate to America after the US President Donald Trump's decision to ban some nationalities, including the Libyan one from entering America. The film was also shot in Ecuador and won the best film at Milan 2018 Short Film Festival.
Today, after passing the CELTA exam, which is a worldwide license to practice English teaching, she began working as a teacher at the Cambridge-Quito Institute, which is a highly recognized and professional institute.
Finally, Hana says that I am very satisfied with my life and all I have experienced is simple bumps that I have managed and are still able to pass.
Here is Ataturk airport
In the arriving lounges at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, Arwa Pharaon a 21yrs old arrived on Libyan Airlines on September 8, 2016. Her first hours in Turkey began with the immigration decision, carrying her Libyan passport and a few dollars that could support her for a short period of time, In the fragile living conditions in Libya, which prevented her from achieving at least her dynamic ambitions, according to her, such as freedom to practice civil and voluntary work, the freedom to play music as well as practicing her individual freedom.
In the region of Besiktas in the European part of Turkey, Arwa lives among great challenges, describing her an anarchist. Between the transportation challenges of daily access to the university and the workplace, Arwa spends hours to go back and forth in transportation, plus the Turkish language challenge. From the beginning of her arrival to Turkey the immigrant's sensor is very sensitive to the new language, which it may be sometimes positive and other times negative.
Arwa says that the Turkish language has often a mixed impact, It represents a lot for the Turkish people and I respect this language as an active element in the society in which I am. Today, I have reached a good level of language learning and have begun to make it easier to understand my peers and people around me. This enables me to communicate and understand more Turkish society structures. I am now a fresh media student, the reason I chose media is that I have always wanted to study it academically and work in, especially with the struggle I had to go through studying architecture here in Turkey - along the fact that architecture was not a personal desire as I was almost forced to study because of my father, who dreamed of being an architects.
But now my studies in the media have greatly contributed to my work at MOP Media, which will be a great addition to my experience.
It is a big challenge to earn money in Istanbul
Arwa continues with a faint voice that money is one of the most complicated things for any expatriate. Getting a job in Libya may be easy because of moderation and sometimes social relationships. But in Turkey, it is very difficult for different reasons, such as cultural gaps and big competition in the labor market. I am happy with my work and everything I do in my life. I finished about a year learning Oud at the Arab Music Institute in Istanbul. This increased my self-confidence, my technical and practical abilities here.
Today, Arwa says, unfortunately, she does not miss her relatives and all the social circles that surrounded her in Libya. She only craves for her activities and the places where she once spent a comfortable and cool time in Tripoli.
The journey of rejected visas
Between the two continents separated by the Atlantic Ocean, Africa and America lays a great passion for immigration! Here, in Los Angeles, America, the plastic artist Nada Qalywan who has lived the life of art, independence and pluralistic visions since the spring of 2010, after a long journey through which she passed a large number of blocked doors from the embassies of the world to fly away, including the Turkish and British Embassy, Nada began the search for other visas, such as the Swedish, which did not get enough money to complete its procedures, as is the case for Canada, they asked her to conduct the interview in France to ensure her eligibility to approve the application for immigration, which eventually stopped her from reaching her destination.
After all these attempts, Nada was able to apply for the US visa as a student and obtain it, where she says;
Migration was a dream to me since i always considered myself as a stranger in my own homeland
After a series of sacrifices and selling many of her special and precious things, Nada finally managed to obtain a visa, where she described her previous life in Libya as monotonous and restrictive in everything. Traveling for her was her only passion and living without intellectual or artistic restrictions is the ideal way of life.
Nada has traveled through the unknown, she is between the hammer of self-realization and the hardships of migration. Nada has worked in many professions, describing it as "strange." She hesitates that she is not ashamed to say that she worked as a cook and waitress in a Mexican restaurant, Her experiences in the past are to shares with everyone. It is very important for her to realize how much responsibility she has. She has also worked as a Baby Sitter, as an accountant and in teaching Arabic.
Among all these temporary experiences, Nada says that life here in America, despite its difficulties, is at least an incubating an unrestricted environment. I live here only as a human being, without knowing my religion, country or any other personal information, nor have I ever faced any form of racism or discrimination, There are even a lot of my friends to today do not know where I come from!
Nada adds that she aspires to empower herself today and put a real fingerprint in the history of art inside and outside America. She organizes from time to time individual and group exhibitions, the most recent of which was in May 2017, which was awarded to his background from Los Angeles with two testimonies. Nada also volunteers in many art museums and has extensive experience in this field, where she is able to contribute to the independence of her artistic production.
Society always believes that initiatives must come from men not women
And here I am today initiating, working, volunteering, traveling and engaging in experiences in many different levels, everyone is entitled to adventure despite their gender.